Thursday, December 11, 2014

Travels & Training

Last ride before the rain

Between the arenas getting shut down due to rain, then getting sick for a few days, then recovering just in time for an extra long weekend trip - it has been quite some time since I've had some lesson progress on ponykins!

Rainy days mean cleaning boots

Beautiful hiking in Mill Valley

Tuesday night I had a lesson and Hemie was surprisingly excellent, given that he'd been standing in his stall for most of 10 days. He had a moment of spooking silliness, but settled down to work and was a hard worker for the whole ride. We are focusing on quality of connection, and asking Hemie to really engage with his hind-end and stretch with his topline. What was once so hard that we only asked for a few steps, is now so improved that we are getting excellent throughness for most of the ride. 

I was reminded that I need to be sure I'm using my body correctly - rotating my shoulders and being cognizant of the weight in my seat bones. When I add leg I need to really squeeze with my whole leg (calf, knee, and thigh) rather than wrap my heel into his body. 

Our downward transitions and slowing of gaits are becoming much more balanced. I'm able to really squeeze into them without releasing rein or losing connection, and without giraffe-like objections from Bohemian. And our upward transitions are really coming along. Relaxed and smooth, balanced.

In-your-pocket ponykins

Something I need to practice is not allowing Hemie to curl behind the vertical when asking for stretch downward and forward. As long as his neck was down, I wasn't nit-picking. I need to start being more specific about where his nose is.

Also I need to be more proactive about connection to the left rein (I kinda avoid it). I need to ask him to connect to the left rein more often - even when tracking left.  A helpful exercise for that is to do dramatic leg yielding on a circle when first tracking right - exaggeratedly ensure that he is respectful of my right inside leg and connects to my left outside rein. Then I need to use that left rein for half-halts rather than avoid using it for fear of losing connection.

Overall a great lesson. Laurie got a kick out of my new hot pink gloves. Funny story - I went to the tack store to buy white gloves for night rides so Laurie can see my hands better in the dark. But all the white gloves were quite pricey, as they were all dressage show gloves! So I went for some Noble Equine hot pink from the bargain pile - under $20 (though they are one size too small...). 


  1. Loving the pink glove idea!

  2. sounds like some serious progress on the flat - like he's really relaxed and understanding about it!! also love the pink gloves lol

  3. I need to clean my boots so badly...